An excerpt from our Alan Moore interview currently featured in the June issue:
It was no easy feat getting in touch with Alan Moore. For a man who’s not afraid to speak his mind, he doesn’t like publicity. But when you get him talking, he has much to say. Moore is one of the most influential living comic-book writers, and his work has defined modern superhero comics in ways that are so enfolded into the industry that it’s hard to parse them anymore. For over thirty years he has put out a continuous stream of comics, from superheroes to Jack the Ripper to erotica. Moore’s reimagining of Swamp Thing in the early 1980s made horror comics their own industry just when publishers had all but given up on a comic subgenre that had once been the cause of the now much-belied Comics Code. His 1986–87 comic Watchmen demythologized superheroes by stripping them of their godlike glamor and morality and showing how damaging and complicated power really is. Moore has also watched as his creations have been torn asunder by the very industry he helped transform. – Peter Bebergal
BLVR: Is magic’s most authentic expression through the creative imagination?
AM: Actually, art and magic are pretty much synonymous. I would imagine that this all goes back to the phenomenon of representation, when, in our primordial past, some genius or other actually flirted upon the winning formula of “This means that.” Whether “this” was a voice or “that” was a mark upon a dry wall or “that” was a guttural sound, it was that moment of representation. That actually transformed us from what we were into what we would be. It gave us the possibility, all of a sudden, of language. And when you have language, you can describe pictorially or verbally the strange and mystifying world that you see around you, and it’s probably not long before you also realize that, hey, you can just make stuff up. The central art of enchantment is weaving a web of words around somebody. And we would’ve noticed very early on that the words we are listening to alter our consciousness, and using the way they can transform it, take it to places we’ve never dreamed of, places that don’t exist.
When that enchantment is the creation of gods and the creation of mythology, or the kind in the practice of magic, what I believe one is essentially doing is creating metafictions. It’s creating fictions that are so complex and so self-referential that for all practical intents and purposes they almost seem to be alive. That would be one of my definitions of what a god might be. It is a concept that has become so complex, sophisticated, and so self-referential that it appears to be aware of itself. We can’t say that it definitely is aware of itself, but then again we can’t really say that about even our fellow human beings.
Read the rest of the interview here. Purchase a copy of the June issue here. Illustration by Charles Burns, whose Cover Portraits for the Believer 2003–2013 is currently on view at the Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York.